Excerpts from Bai Juyi's "Biography of a Master of Drunken Poetry" (Suigin sensei den)
Comprising just four columns of Chinese calligraphy removed from a long handscroll, this precious fragment of early eleventh-century calligraphy has been mounted as a hanging scroll. It was brushed by the celebrated courtier-calligrapher Fujiwara no Yukinari, who earned a reputation as the consolidator of the Japanese (wayō) style. He mastered Chinese models associated with Wang Xizhi (ca. 303–361), but imbued characters with a slightly gentler, more rounded feel that harmonized with Japanese kana writing. The text is a section from Bo Juyi’s autobiography, written when he was sixty-seven. The title derives from one of his poetry names—“Master of Drunken Singing” (Zuiyin Xiansheng 醉吟先生)— the characters that appear in the first column of this fragment.In the biography, Bo Juyi constructs a persona of a literatus growing old gracefully while enjoying wine, music, and poetry.
Fujiwara no Yukinari (Kōzei) (Japanese, 972–1027)
Heian period (794–1185)